The Fenian Claddagh

The most notable variation of Irish Claddagh rings is the Fenian Claddagh ring, which is unique from other Claddaghs in that it has no crown.

There are two theories put up explaining the first occurence of the Claddagh Irish ring.
First Theory: Margaret Joyce inherited a huge amount of money from her late husband named Domingo de Rona. He was a wealthy Spanish merchant trading with Galway in Ireland. She later married the Mayor of Galway in 1596 (Oliver Og French) and used her inherited wealth to construct many bridges in Connacht. The first Claddagh ring was supposed to be her providential reward and was dropped by an eagle into her lap.

Second Theory: A native of Galway by the name of Richard Joyce was captured by the Algerians and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith. Later in 1689 William III of England demanded the release of all British subjects and, therefore, Richard Joyce was released. The Moorish goldsmith offered Richard Joyce a major portion of his wealth and also his only daughter in marriage, if he agreed to stay in Algiers. The story goes that, Richard Joyce refused all the tempting offers and returned to his native city with the first Claddagh ring.

Fenian Claddagh Rings, while they may have originated before the traditional Claddagh ring, are very much associated, and have been specifically made for Fenians to symbolise their desire of an Ireland free of the British crown. The Fenians began an effort in the mid-nineteenth century to free Ireland of British rule. The Claddagh without a crown very much symbolises their desire of freedom from the British crown.

This particular Claddagh Ring is inscripted with “Anam Cara” meaning Soul Friend.

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